- Megan merino
- August 4, 2021
Scotland’s first grime and hip hop conference successfully creates a new platform to celebrate and educate the next generation of Scottish talent
On Saturday July 31st, the inaugural sold-out HANG conference, focusing exclusively on hip hop and grime in Scotland, took place on the internet and at SWG3 in Glasgow. The hybrid chat and live performance program celebrated a genre that so far has received very little funding or attention, despite being central to many Scottish communities for over 30 years. .
The conference started with a series of panel discussions and expert interviews featuring key players and shakers from the Scottish scene and veterans of the wider UK music industry. Covering radio DJs, youth workers and musical artists, the program was packed with information, inspiration and educational content around Scottish hip hop for fans of the genre and, perhaps more importantly, those who do not know him.
Highlights included Scotland: the story so far headed by journalist and author Arusa Qureshi. Edinburgh-based rapper Nova, Aberdonian rapper Ransom FA and Glasgow rapper and author Darren McGarvey all stressed the importance of branching out as artists, staying true to their Scottish sound and encouraging collaboration to amplify the Scottish scene with an international audience. They also discussed their different experiences in the industry, what advice they would give to future talent and reflected on the Scottish scene as it looks today.
In a more industry-focused discussion, BBC Radio Scotland host Vic Galloway, Radio 1Xtra producer Kieran Soraghan, Scottish artist, DJ and K4CIE host and Delaina Sepko, presenter of Sunny Govan and Beats & Breaks, gave independent artists practical advice and insight on how best to submit their music to radio stations and what producers look for when deciding what they want to air on air.
Finally, a charming interview by BBC Scotland show host Shereen Cutkelvin with BBC Radio 1 Xtra host Tiffany Calver explored Calver’s journey to becoming the first presenter of The Rap Show and highlighted some London perceptions of Scottish rap and grime.
The extensive program culminated in a live performance at SWG3 where the lineup showcased a wide range of Scottish talent. The artists have represented Scottish cities spanning Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, with highlights including sets from Ayrshire rapper Bemz, Mistah Bohze and Nova, winner of Scottish Album of the Year. But it was the rapper from northeast Aberdeen Chef who won the crowd with his stage presence and tight rhymes.
For many, this was the first time we had returned to a stage since the start of the pandemic, so it’s understandable that the nerves were at their highest and that some cobwebs were in need of dusting. Luckily, the audience was also getting to know live music again and, although sitting in socially distant rows, brought great energy and audibly appreciating the range of artists taking to the stage.
Although Scottish rap and hip hop as a whole still feel in search of their own, distinct identity, HANG has shown that the scene deserves more than national attention and support. Even in its first year, the conference is a vital source of inspiration and education for artists and makes the future of the genre in Scotland much brighter.
The online portion of the event is now available on Officialama.com.